CMT's Top Secret Recipe and Outback Steakhouse Go Head-To-Head Over The Secret Behind The Iconic Bloomin Onion

Restaurant Co-Founder and Bloomin' Onion Creator Tim Gannon Faces off against Famous Food Hacker Todd Wilbur

October 20, 2011 // Franchising.com // Tampa, Florida – Ever wondered what makes a Bloomin’ Onion taste so good? On Friday, October 21, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, Outback Steakhouse will be featured on CMT’s newly introduced television series “Top Secret Recipe” where famous food hacker Todd Wilbur attempts to recreate an iconic recipe. In this episode, Outback co-founder Trudy Cooper challenges Wilbur to crack the recipe for Outback’s signature menu item – the Bloomin’ Onion. With only three days to clone the restaurant’s signature dish, Wilbur travels to Tampa, steals Outback President Jeff Smith’s rolodex, meets with co-founder and Bloomin’ Onion creator Tim Gannon, and visits the Outback Research and Development facility, trying to remove the sacred recipe from the recipe vault. Wilbur will present his recipe to a panel of judges who will decide in a blind taste test if he will receive free Bloomin’ Onions for life.

“When I developed the Bloomin’ Onion over 20 years ago, I selected 17 different spices to flavor the onion and an additional 37 spices in the dipping sauce,” says Gannon. “I am confident the bold, fresh taste of our signature dish will remain a secret.”

The series “Top Secret Recipe” premiered on October 7 and features Wilbur, who employs a number of creative gumshoe efforts to zero in on a secret recipe of an American brand through trial and error. He rolls up his sleeves and tests samples in his undercover mobile food lab, disguising himself for retail store visits, spying on preparation techniques, pumping employees for information on crucial ingredients and talking his way into high security areas. Wilbur is a best-selling cookbook author who’s been cloning recipes since the 1980’s and has appeared on national television shows. He’s the author of 10 top secret recipes books, with over 4.3 million sold.

About CMT

CMT, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 93 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network’s digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.

A Cut Above: Dissecting the Bloomin’ Onion

Outback co-founder Tim Gannon created the Bloomin’ Onion concept more than 20 years ago, inspired by Japanese cookbooks he read in the early 1980s which featured vegetables cut and prepared with intricate floral designs. Once he had perfected the recipe, Tim went on a quest for the perfect onion that was tangy enough to withstand being dipped into a bold-flavored batter seasoned with 17 spices, yet still maintain its shape after being “bloomed.” He consulted with an “onion-ologist” in the food science department at Texas A&M University, who helped him select and create the perfect breed of onion. During the first night of business, Outback sold just two Bloomin’ Onions. Since then, the restaurant has sold more than 163.5 million of its original Aussie appetizer without changing a single ingredient!

About Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse was once again voted #1 Best Steak in the 2011 Zagat Survey® of National Full-Service Restaurant Chains for the third consecutive year. Outback Steakhouse starts fresh every day to create the flavors that our mates crave. Best known for grilled steaks, chicken and seafood, Outback also offers a wide variety of crisp salads and freshly made soups and sides. New creations and grilled classics are made from scratch daily using only the highest quality ingredients sourced from around the world. For more information, please visit www.Outback.com, www.Facebook.com/Outback or www.Twitter.com/Outback.

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